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Software Review – Adobe Photoshop Plug-in – Dfine 2.0 From Nik Software

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Dfine 2.0 is the long awaited update to Dfine 1.0; the Noise Reduction product from Nik Software that is redefining noise reduction for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. That leads to the question "What is Noise?" Noise is the unwanted imperfections created by digital cameras as they try to capture the digital image. The amount of noise that is generated is determined by the quality and type of image sensor that created the image.

Dfine is a plug-in to Adobe Photoshop and other image editing applications; ones that support Photoshop Plug-ins, that can help you reduce noise in your images. Its goal is to reduce noise while still maintaining the detail and sharpness and therefore improving the quality of every image. Dfine will help fix problems due to fast or high ISO speeds as well as low light levels. It even works on JPEG artifacts.

So what is new with Dfine 2.0? Well first we have U Point® Technology; a dynamic and flexible technology that provides photographers a new way for editing digital images with out layers, masks or selections. It does this by using algorithms which consider relationships between color and light. It was first featured in Nikon's Capture NX Software. This allows you to reduce noise only where needed by using U Point Control Points
Image courtesy Nik SoftwareThere is also Selective Functionality. This can be done three ways. As said before, it can be done by using control points. It can also be done by using Color Ranges; this is done by selecting to reduce noise within individual color ranges and is generally best done when working in a batch process. Lastly there is the Selective Tool. By using the brush tool in Photoshop or Elements, you can manage layers and layer masks.

Dfine has added a brand new reduction engine that provides noise reduction while retaining a great deal of detail. This can reduce the need to purchase camera profiles and it fine-tunes images by using automatic camera profiling.

Finally there is an updated interface. This will allow you to resize and in general, more easily incorporate Dfine into your workflow. You can see from the image below the redefined interface.

Image courtesy Nik SoftwareThe program is very easy to use. Effectively you measure the noise and choose your method of reduction; whole, color range, or control points. You can then preview the image's detail before and after noise reduction with a variety of methods. Once you are happy with the reduction, click OK and your changes will be applied

I like Dfine 2.0's simplicity and ease of use. It takes a complicated process and brings it into your workflow without impeding it. If you want to see more you can watch some of the lesson videos or you can get a 15-day free trial. If you are already sold on Dfine, you can purchase it new for $99 USD and $69.95 USD for the upgrade from version 1.0.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • S Simpson

    I have been using Dfine 1.0 and now 2.0 for awhile now. It is the cat’s meow when it comes to noise management. It takes a little getting used to but once you do, you can selectively manage noise.

  • http://www.PhotoshopTodaynet.blogspot.com/ T. Michael Testi

    Thanks for the comment!

    While I never used version 1.0, I agree that once you get the hang of Dfine 2.0; which doesn’t take too long, it really does a great job.

    T.

  • Louis

    I tried the demo, but it kept on crashing my system during starting of Photoshop CS3 after installation.